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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

Agencies issue NPRM on incentive-based compensation

Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Bank Regulatory OCC FDIC FHFA Dodd-Frank SEC Federal Reserve

Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

On May 6, the FDIC, OCC, NCUA and the FHFA issued a NPRM (proposed rule) on incentive-based compensation, pursuant to Dodd-Frank’s Section 956 (Section 956), which required federal regulators to prescribe regulations or guidelines regarding incentive-based compensation at covered financial institutions. Regulators first proposed a rule to implement Section 956 in 2011, and again in 2016. Now, regulators are reproposing the 2016 version without change, albeit with certain alternatives. The current proposal, however, will be published without involvement from the Fed or SEC.

Section 956 defined “covered financial institutions” as institutions with at least $1 billion in assets and include the following: depository institutions or depository institution holding companies, registered broker-dealers, credit unions, investment advisers, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac (or any other financial institution that federal regulators determined should be treated as a covered financial institution). Dodd-Frank required regulators to prohibit incentive-based compensation arrangements that encouraged “inappropriate risks.” The proposed rule included prohibitions intended to make these compensation arrangements more sensitive to risk, such as a ban on incentive-based compensation arrangements that do not include risk adjustment of awards, deferral of payments, or forfeiture and clawback provisions. In addition, the proposed rule set forth recordkeeping and disclosure requirements to help federal regulators monitor potential issues.

The agencies will review both new comments and those received in 2016 for the prior proposed rule. The agencies invited those who previously submitted comments and resubmit their comments to explain how their viewpoint may have changed from their prior comments. The agencies also requested comments on the compliance date and disclosures, like the recordkeeping and clawback requirements. Comments will be due no later than 60 days following publication in the Federal Register.